Utah consumer sentiment falls in June; national survey falls to lowest level in 70 years

Jun 30, 2022, 6:56 PM | Updated: 10:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Frustrations over inflation sent consumer confidence in Utah and across the nation to new lows in June, according to surveys from the University of Utah and the University of Michigan.

“People are not happy about inflation,” said Phil Dean, chief economist at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. “The sentiment in Utah has dropped.”

The Survey of Utah Consumers by the Gardner Institute fell to 64.4 in June—the lowest since the survey started in 2020. In May, the index was 69.

They survey asks questions about current economic conditions and what respondents expect in the future.

“This high inflation includes many every-day items, including $5-per gallon gasoline and elevated food prices,” said a prepared statement from Dean. “Persistent high prices force consumers to reorient their short-term thinking about today’s purchases and wages and sow seeds of uncertainty about the long-term future.”

The Utah survey mirrors questions asked in a long-running national survey by the University of Michigan. The Michigan survey captured consumer sentiment dropping sharply in June to the lowest level in its 70-year history.

“Which is remarkable to think about all that’s happened over that 70-year timespan and consumer sentiment nationally is the lowest that it’s been through all that time,” Dean said in an interview with KSL-TV.

The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumer Sentiment dipped to 50 in June, compared to May’s reading of 58.4. One year ago, the Michigan national index stood at 85.5.

An analysis of the Utah survey noted that, until now, those under 40 had never experienced rapid inflation.

“One of my biggest concerns is that it hits low-income people the hardest,” Dean said. “They have the least ability to navigate around inflation and can’t change habits because they’re already at the minimum in a lot of ways.”

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Utah consumer sentiment falls in June; national survey falls to lowest level in 70 years